ACCRA, The value of Ghana’s total gold output in 2016 rose 55 percent to 5.15 billion U.S. dollars, a report by the Ghana Chamber of Mines released here on Friday stated.

Total gold output for the West African country rose 46 percent to a 40-year high of 4.13 million ounces, compared with the 2.84 million ounces recorded the previous year.

“The steep upswing in the country’s main mineral export, gold, from 2.8 million ounces in 2015 to 4.1 million ounces in 2016 was driven by fresh production from Asanko Gold Ghana Limited on the first phase of its Obotan Mines and substantial increase in export through the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) as well as the growth in production at Anglogold Ashanti’s Iduapriem and Newmont’s Ahafo respectively,” the Annual report stated.

The Ghana Chamber of Mines represents the major large-scale licensed mining firms in Ghana and are the organizers of the annual Ghana Mining and Energy Conferences.

Addressing the Annual General Meeting (AGM), Kwame Addo-Kuffuor, President of the chamber, underscored the huge potential of the mining industry to support economic growth of the country.

“The potential for the mining industry in Ghana to support broad economic development is not lost on the Chamber of Mines. Besides the significant fiscal contributions of mining to the economy, the industry is keen to create and grow a robust local supplier base,” Addo-Kuffuor announced.

The AGM, which was held on the last day of the three-day Annual Ghana Mining and Energy Forum and Exhibitions, brought together members of the Chamber and state regulatory institutions to deliberate on the way forward for the mining industry.

Some of the challenges listed by the member-companies included high energy tariffs, unreliable power supply, high cost of fuel, high taxes, un-refunded Value Added Tax (VAT) payments and delays in permitting.